Elon Musk and Tesla: Saving the Planet by Being Awesome

Over the past month, Tesla, the world’s leading electric car manufacturer, has skyrocketed in market value to the second most valuable car company in the world. Only Toyota stands ahead of them, and some analysts believe that Tesla will pass them by the end of 2020. This is a good thing for the planet, and it is a good thing for America. 

When the first electric cars and hybrids entered the mainstream, they were simply embarrassing to drive. No average person would have been caught dead driving a Toyota Prius or a Nissan Leaf. These cars assuredly had their niche with environmentalists, but beyond that, almost no one wanted to drive them. That all changed when Elon Musk, the famous, or perhaps infamous, CEO of Tesla began to show the world that an electric car could actually be cool. 

Tesla began producing cars in 2008 and immediately began to show the world that environmentally friendly cars didn’t have to be depressing to drive. The original Tesla roadster was based off of a British sports car and performed like it. Buzz began to build around the new American startup, but few could have imagined that within 12 years the company would be the single largest American car manufacturer, with a value that far surpasses both Ford and GM combined. This is indisputably good for the United States; the world wants American cars once again. Tesla, despite its significant strides to automate the car manufacturing process, provides thousands of jobs for people across the United States. 

It is hard to dispute that the influence of Tesla; their brand is absolutely everywhere. At first, it was mostly progressive cities that had adopted Tesla. Now, however, Teslas can be seen almost everywhere. Driving around cities, suburbs and rural areas, one would be hard pressed to drive for longer than 20 minutes and not see at least one Tesla. Love them or hate them — Tesla, and Musk, have succeeded in their goal of making electric vehicles cool. 

This achievement is not only good for the United States as a country, but is also good for the planet. Environmentally friendly vehicles are a fantastic way to reduce emissions, but nobody was going to adopt them if they remained the ugly and uninspiring vehicles they were in their early stages. If only the niche buyers of those cars continued to buy them, it is highly unlikely that car manufacturers more generally would have even bothered with making electric cars. Tesla knew that to make a change in the market, they had to make their cars appealing to the general public and to provide a variety of cars for people across income brackets. This strategy was bold, and many doubted it, but it clearly paid off. 

If you ask people across our campus what kind of car they would like to have when they graduate, odds are they would tell you that they want a Tesla. Even for those who aren’t necessarily environmentally conscious, Teslas are a fantastic option. They’re fun to drive, the safest cars on the road, nice to look at and lead the way in new technology for drivers. Musk and Tesla have provided the world with a car that will help the environment not merely by being environmentally conscious, but by providing that option in a form that people actually want. This widescale adoption of electric cars will make sure that emissions and pollutants generated by cars are chipped away as the rest of the car manufacturers begin to produce their own electric vehicles. Tesla has and will continue to help protect the environment, all by being awesome.